Regarding today’s RIAA/YouTube/Google Video ruckus, there appears to be a lot of panic and outrage, but not a lot of evidence yet that this stuff is actually happening. I’m not fond of the RIAA. But I’m not fond of panicky and ill-informed Internet stampedes, either.
I’ve come across posts that claim without proof that the RIAA is suing people for uploading videos of lip-syncing to commercial songs or dancing to commercial songs as they play in the background. I’ve read that the RIAA has sent cease and desist letters to all YouTube users who’ve uploaded such videos. That would be…a lot of letters. Are you sure?
BroadbandReports.com says, “The RIAA & MPAA are taking a strong interest in YouTube videos of copyrighted content the past few months, judging from activity in our forums.” What activity? Where? Does this activity include proof, or are people just ranting?
Project Opus says, “Some YouTube users have reportedly received cease and desist letters from the RIAA, demanding that the posted video be taken down.” According to what report? Which users? How many? Aargh!
I’m beginning to understand why so many journalists hate blogs.
The closest I’ve come to hard facts is this letter from YouTube to a member, explaining that YouTube has removed access to a Mars Volta video because of an infringement complaint from the RIAA. There’s no description of the infringing content, but the video title suggests that it’s a video of the band performing one of its songs live. In which case, yeah, it’s a drag that the RIAA wants it taken down; but that’s not the same thing as going after lip-syncers and dancers.
The 463 Blog looks at the state of the controversy in a couple of good posts here and here. It even attributes some of the magic words and phrases we’ve been reading to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps uniquely, it manages to do all of this without using the phrase “rat bastards”.
Hilariously, much of the blogosphere is also waxing indignant on the subject of manufactured outrage.